The Columbus Crew will attempt to pick themselves up off the canvas when hosting Seattle Sounders in the MLS on Saturday afternoon (5.30pm ET). In contrast, the visitors will be looking to extend their already impressive winning run.
So who will prevail? Read on for our Columbus Crew vs Seattle Sounders predictions, full preview and picks against the sportsbooks for American players.
After the Crew won the MLS Cup in impressive fashion last season, very few people would’ve predicted what’s currently going on in Columbus right now. Saturday’s hosts are currently eighth in the Eastern Conference, so not only is it looking like their chances of finishing near the summit are slim, but whether they’ll make the post season is heavily up for debate, which not very long ago would’ve somewhat unthinkable.
Columbus has won zero out of five coming into this fixture, and embarrassingly, Caleb Porter’s MLS Cup holders have lost each of those five. They have also lost each of their last two at home, conceding no shortage of goals in the process. The Crew need a turnaround in fortunes and fast.
Unlike the hosts, Seattle approach Saturday’s game in fine form. They were victorious in mid-week, beating FC Dallas away from home, which is never easy to do, while they’ve now won three matches on the bounce (in all competitions). Back-to-back league victories has left the Sounders out in front in the Western Conference. They are a point clear of Sporting Kansas City having played the same number of games.
Defensive issue for the hosts
Even at home, where they rarely find it hard to impose themselves offensively, Saturday’s hosts have struggled to keep things tight. Porter’s team conceded three goals when last in action at this venue, which somewhat staggeringly was an improvement on the game that came before. On that occasion, the Crew shipped four against D.C. United! They did keep a clean sheet at home before that, but they’ve only shut out one of their last five opponents at Lower com Field, which given their undoubted hopes of once again going deep into the postseason, simply isn’t good enough.
This season, Columbus has conceded 12 goals in nine home matches. Last season, Columbus conceded just six goals in just 11 home matches, so the difference is there for all to see. If they are to work their way back up the table in the east, then they need to tighten up defensively, though a match against a fierce Seattle side doesn’t exactly provide the hosts with the perfect opportunity to do that.
Visitors thriving on their travels
As touched on above, the Seattle Sounders come into this fixture after picking up back-to-back road wins. Last time out, they beat FC Dallas by a goal to nil, while last weekend, we saw the men in green and blue at their dazzling best as they scored six goals en route to earning three points in Portland.
Playing on the road has clearly agreed with Brian Schmetzer’s men this campaign. They’ve played nine, won six, tied two and lost just one away from the comforts of home, scoring 15 and conceding seven in the process. Interestingly, the Sounders are the only side in the Western Conference to have collected two or more points per game on average on the road this term. They currently average 2.22 travelling points, which is about as healthy as it gets.
Where’s the bet?
Those looking merely at the form will find it hard to go against the visitors on the moneyline, and who can blame them? Given what’s happened in recent weeks, it’s not difficult to argue that the visitors ought to be a little shorter, and to be frank, there are worse bets than supporting an away win here. However, preference is for ‘Both Teams to Score’.
For all Columbus’ recent faults, the hosts are still a force to be reckoned with offensively on their own patch. Saturday’s hosts have scored an average of 1.66 goals at home this term, scoring two or more in seven of their last eight at Lower com Field. That stat is hard to ignore, but so is their glaringly obvious lack of home clean sheets. Against a strong Seattle outfit, the hosts are likely to struggle defensively, especially if recent displays are anything to go by.
The Seattle Sounders are no easy side to face, even at home, but their away-day performances haven’t been without defensive mishaps. Schmetzer’s men have conceded only seven times in nine away matches, which by MLS standards is very good, though they’ve kept only three travelling clean sheets. Moreover, they generally tend to give away enough to warrant conceding at least once.
On average, the Sounders surrender 1.28 expected goals for per 90 minutes on the road. Combine this with Columbus’ offensive and defensive effort at home, where both teams have scored in four of the last five, and a play on both the hosts and the visitors finding the net on Saturday starts to look worthwhile. So the betting predictions for this preview are: